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Lawyers In Transition Committee

The primary mission of the Committee on Law Practice Continuity is to encourage sole and small firm practitioners to plan for the management or dissolution of their law practices upon their retirement, death, or sudden inability to continue in practice.  In all of these situations, there is a critical need for procedures to be in place to protect the interests of clients and the attorney who is no longer able to practice.

A Resource Is Now Available to Assist The Sole and Small Firm Practitioner In Planning Ahead

If you have not already heard the news, there is now available an invaluable resource to assist the sole and small firm practitioner in planning ahead for retirement or inability to practice law, whether by reason of illness or other incapacity.  Prepared by the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Law Practice Continuity, the resource is a 160 page compendium of forms and commentary entitled “Planning Ahead: Establish an Advance Exit Plan to Protect Your Clients' Interests in the Event of your Disability, Retirement or Death." (Click the link to download your free PDF.) 

Materials included in the Guide are:

Sample Agreements Appointing Another Attorney to Manage or Close Your Practice
Special Provisions Regarding Your Practice to Include in your Will
Sample Letters Advising Your Clients of Your Retirement or Inability to Practice Law
Authorization Forms for Delivery of Files
Recommended Checklists for You to Maintain to Assure a Smooth Transition
Information and Forms on the Sale of a Practice
References to Relevant Sections of the Code of Professional Responsibility
Discussion on Trust/ Escrow accounts, File retention, Confidentiality of Client Files, and lots more….. 
How To Order A Hard Copy of the Guide

The Guide may be ordered by members at a charge of $10.00, and non-member for $12.00, from the WCBA offices located at 1 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10601 or utilizing the WCBA's online bookstore.  Copies are also available for purchase at some of the WCBA CLE programs.

A New Data Base Is Created By the WCBA for Sole and Small Firm Practitioners

The WCBA, with assistance from the Law Practice Continuity Committee, is developing a database of its members who are sole and small firm practitioners.  Its objective is to provide such practitioners with information that may be specifically relevant to their practices, whether it be a CLE program or resource such as the Planning Ahead Guide.  On April 16, 2007, thanks to the efforts of the WCBA, a mailing was sent to over 450 sole and small firm practitioners advising them of the availability of the Planning Ahead Guide and requesting those attorneys who are retiring to complete a questionnaire to assist the WCBA when it receives inquiries from former clients of the retired attorney (or their families).

For The Sole or Small Firm Practitioner Who is Retiring

The WCBA is now asking those attorneys who are about to permanently close their briefcases to complete a questionnaire developed by the Law Practice Continuity Committee in conjunction with the WCBA.  The questionnaire elicits contact information and successor attorney information that will assist the WCBA when a former client of the retired attorney (or family member of the client) needs information or documents from the retired attorney but is unable to locate him or her. 

A common example is a telephone call to the WCBA from the family member of a recently deceased client of the retired attorney who is attempting to locate the original will that was prepared and formerly retained by the retired attorney.  If you are retiring, or have a colleague or friend who is a sole practitioner and is soon to retire, please take a minute to download and complete this questionnaire.  Once completed, it should be returned to the WCBA at 1 North Broadway, Suite 512, White Plains, NY 10601. 

The WCBA will maintain the form in its files for future reference, if necessary.

If You Are Interested in Joining the Law Practice Continuity Committee

The Law Practice Continuity Committee welcomes new members who are interested in our mission…and in contributing some time to committee meetings and projects.  Feel free to contact its Chair, Susan F. Gibralter, Esq., if you are interested, at or 914-472-7700 (ext 107).

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